Emergency Preparedness Week is May 1-7, and the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) have joined forces to hit home an important message – everyone needs an emergency plan, and it must include your furry family members.
If an emergency struck that required you to evacuate or shelter in place, would you be ready? Here are five tips to keep you and your furry family members safe in the event of an emergency:
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit containing everything you, your family, and your pets will need in the first 72 hours of an emergency, including first aid kits for people and pets. You should check your emergency kit at least twice a year and update it as necessary. Keep your supplies in a watertight container(s).
- Have an evacuation plan in place that includes your animals. Ask about your municipality’s evacuation centre locations and pet policies relating to evacuation. Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area and check their policy on accepting pets during an emergency. Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they could shelter your pets during an emergency.
- Ensure your dog or cat is wearing a collar with an identification tag, ideally with your phone number or the number of a relative outside of your area in case you have evacuated and can’t be reached by phone. It’s also important to have your pet microchipped and to keep that information up to date to help increase the chances of being reunited in an emergency.
- Keep a current photo of your pet with you. Make sure it includes their name, address, and a brief description, including any unique markings, in case you need to claim your pet or share information about your lost pet during an emergency.
- Post an emergency decal on your front door to make first responders aware that there are pets inside the home. If an emergency like a fire happens when you’re not home, this helps improve the chances your pets will be rescued or receive the care they need. To request a free emergency decal, visit ontariospca.ca/ep
“By having the necessary supplies to shelter in place, or a plan to evacuate with your pets, preparing for the unexpected will help ensure you’re able to care for your pets during an emergency,” says Jennifer Bluhm, Vice President, Community Outreach Services, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.
“No one wants or expects an emergency, but everyone should be prepared just in case,” says OAFC President, Deputy Chief Rob Grimwood. “A simple 72-hour emergency preparedness kit, along with a preplanned emergency escape route for you, your family and pets can save the lives of those you care about most.”
For more emergency planning resources, and to request a free emergency decal, visit ontariospca.ca/ep